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Schedule (coming soon)
Speakers (coming soon)
 

Tuesday 28 

September 2021

 
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OFFICIAL OPENING RECEPTION
@ The Grammy Museum

6:00pm - 8:00pm

Welcome Talk:​

  • Emily Havens, Executive Director, GRAMMY Mississippi Museum (USA)

  • Shain Shapiro, Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK)

  • Craig Ray, Director, Visit Mississippi (USA)

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Wednesday 29

September 2021

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OFFICIAL WELCOME

10:00am - 10:20am

  • Master of Ceremonies: Steve Azar, Music & Culture Ambassador Of Mississippi, & Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist Producer (USA)

  • Shain Shapiro, Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK)

  • Billy Nowell, Mayor, City of Cleveland, MS (USA)

  • Tate Reeves, Governor, State of Mississippi (USA)

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KEYNOTE PRESENTATION - THE CAVERN CLUB, STRAWBERRY FIELDS AND THEIR ROLE IN LIVERPOOL’S BOOMING MUSIC TOURISM INDUSTRY

10:20am - 10:45am

  • Julia Baird, Director, Cavern City Tours (UK) 

 

Can a band change the identity of a place forever? Yes, and no city can prove it better than Liverpool. It’s now been 60 years since the Beatles first performed at the Cavern Club, and what used to be a small nightclub on Mathew Street is now a major Liverpool tourism attraction, with additional products ranging from tours to festivals, and from a pub to a record label. We’re beyond excited to be joined by Julia Lennon Baird - author, director of Cavern City Tours and sister of John Lennon - to explore how Liverpool has been preserving the Beatles legacy, as well as the role of iconic locations such as the Cavern Club and Strawberry Fields in making Liverpool an epicentre of music tourism.  

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PRESENTATION - TBC

10:45am - 11:10am

tbc

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PANEL - BLENDING HERITAGE WITH LIVING CULTURE: THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR AN ATTRACTIVE MUSIC DESTINATION - IN PARTNERSHIP WITH VISIT MACON

  • Moderator - Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, Delta State University (MS, USA)

  • Panelist 1 - Terry Smith, CEO, Destination Cape Breton (Canada)

  • Panelist 2 - Tricia Walker, Music Ambassador, Big Front Porch Productions (MS, USA)

  • Panelist 3 - Abby Kurin, Executive Director, Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture (USA)

  • Panelist 4 - Karol Fajardo Mariño, Director, Instituto Distrital de Turismo  - IDT, City of Bogota (Colombia)

 

You know music is the reason why people visit your city. You have the right infrastructure and you’re investing in branding. But do you fully understand which aspects are the key tourist drivers? Is it a specific band? Is it an iconic venue? Is it your entertainment district or a rich live music offer? Each place has a unique combination of all these elements and our panelists today will be discussing how to create the perfect mix in order to protect a place’s music heritage whilst supporting its current scene and creating an all-round music destination.

11:10am - 12:00pm

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PRESENTATION - TBC

12:00pm - 12:25pm

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Q&A - WHAT DOES EXPERIENTIAL HOSPITALITY MEAN AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOUR MUSIC CITY?

1:45pm - 2:10pm

  • Shain Shapiro, Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK) in conversation with 

  • Robert Lavia, CEO, UMUSIC Hotels (Florida, USA) 

 

Hospitality is at the core of all tourism destinations, just like venues are a foundation of any music city. When the goals and strategies of the music and tourism sectors are aligned, then there are huge opportunities to create a more creative, interesting and cohesive music tourism offer. This concept is at the basis of the new UMUSIC Hotels, a series of music-based experiential hotel properties, which will see Mississippi’s own Biloxi as one of its first locations. Shain Shapiro will be sitting down with UMUSIC Hotels’ CEO Robert Lavia to define experiential hospitality and discuss how hotels, venues, artists and destination managers can work together to promote and support the local music scene, whilst providing new experiences and entertainment opportunities for tourists and locals.

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PANEL - TBC

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2:10pm - 3:00pm

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PRESENTATION  - ROCK N’ ROLL ISLAND: THE BIRTHPLACE OF BLUES ACROSS THE POND

3:00pm - 3:25pm

  • Cheryl Robson, Co-Director, Rock n Roll Island, & Director, Aurora Metro

 

In the 1960s, a small island on the River Thames in South West London became a hub for blues and rhythm music. Influenced by the Delta Blues, soon-to-be world famous artists such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd started their careers on Eel Pie Island, and then conquered the world. Released in 2020, the documentary “Rock n Roll Island: Where Legends Were Born” encapsulates the history of this unique place, so closely intertwined with Mississippi and future global music heritage. We’re excited to have documentary director Cheryl Robson here to tell us all about Eel Pie Island, its former residents, current scene and music museum, as well as to explore the impact of music documentaries on tourism.

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PANEL - MUSIC MUSEUMS: HOW TO ENSURE THEY’RE SUCCESSFUL

3:25pm - 4:15pm

  • Moderator - Nan Marchand Beauvois, Senior Vice President, Senior Vice-President, U.S. Travel Association (USA)

  • Panelist 1 - Rocky Bucano, Executive Director - Board of Trustees, Universal Hip Hop Museum (USA)

  • Panelist 2 - Rashida Phillips, Executive Director, American Jazz Museum (USA)

  • Panelist 3 - Nwaka Onwusa, VP & Chief Curator, Curatorial Affairs, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (USA)

  • Panelist 4 -  Malika Polk-Lee, Executive Director, B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center (MS, USA)

 

Moderated by U.S. Travel Association Senior Vice President Nan Marchand Beauvois and featuring leaders of US music museums across four different genres and states, this panel will provide insights and tips on how to create successful music museums by looking at elements such as curation, audience engagement, community development, authenticity, inclusivity, tourism development, identity and more.

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PRESENTATION - CHARLIE PATTON, DOCKERY FARMS & THE START OF MISSISSIPPI’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BLUES

  • William Lester, Executive Director, Dockery Farms Foundation (USA) 

 

“...You might say it all started right here.” This is what BB King said about Dockery Farms, a cotton plantation regarded as the place where Delta blues music was born. Bill Lester, Executive Director of the Dockery Farms Foundation, will tell us more about the site ahead of us visiting it for a special evening reception.

4:15pm - 4:25pm

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CLOSING REMARKS

4:25pm - 4:30pm

  • Master of Ceremonies: Steve Azar, Music & Culture Ambassador Of Mississippi, & Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist Producer (USA)

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RECEPTION & EVENING EVENT @ DOCKERY FARMS

5:00pm - 7:00pm

Join us for a happy hour at Dockery Farms!​

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Thursday 30

September 2021

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PRESENTATION - DEVELOPING KINGSTON, JAMAICA AS A CENTER FOR MUSIC TOURISM

10:10am - 10:40am

  • Steven Wilson, Manager of Multi-Platinum Grammy Winner Sean Paul / Author / Brand New Machine (Jamaica)

A UNESCO City of Music, birthplace of six different musical genres and home to dozens of world-renowned musicians. This is Kingston, Jamaica’s administrative and music capital. We are thrilled to be joined by Steven Wilson - Manager of Kingston-based Multi-Platinum Grammy Winner Sean Paul - to share his vision for music tourism in Kingston and to discuss current opportunities and challenges for artists in the city.

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PANEL: REVITALISING YOUR CITY THROUGH MUSIC

10:40am - 11:30am

  • Moderator - Fabiana Batistela, Director, SIM SÃO PAULO (Brazil)

  • Panelist 1 - Boo Mitchell, Producer, Engineer & Chief Manager, Royal Studios (TN, USA)

  • Panelist 2 - Roger Stolle, Owner, Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art (USA) 

  • Panelist 3 - Lisa La Rocca, Director of Operations, Sonic Unyon Records (Canada)

  • Panelist 4 - Mauricio Enrique Cifuentes Hurtado, Head of Strategic Programme, Chilean Economic Development Agency (Chile)

 

How can music be used as a tool, across different sectors, to foster revitalisation and lead to the development of better music cities? What can the impact be on a city that strategically focuses on music? Let’s explore how using music to revitalise a city can lead to an influx of new residents, new investment, improved infrastructure, increased visitor numbers, longer stays and improved financial opportunities for local businesses and musicians.

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OFFICIAL WELCOME

  • Master of Ceremonies: Tricia Walker, Music Ambassador, Big Front Porch Productions (USA)

  • Shain Shapiro, Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK)

10:00am - 10:10am

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PANEL - THE FUTURE OF MUSIC TOURISM

11:55am - 12:45pm

  • Moderator - Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education and Investments at World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) (Spain)

  • Panelist 1 - Em Ekong, Managing Director, Urban Inclusion Community (Ghana & UK)

  • Panelist 2 - Tom Nield, Co-Founder, LNDMRK (UK)

  • Panelist 3 - tbc -  

  • Panelist 4 - Victoria Isley, President & CEO, Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau (USA)

 

We couldn’t end this edition of Music Tourism Convention in any other way than looking at the future. 2020 hit music and tourism professionals, as well as fans and travellers hard, but has definitely reminded us of the incredible value of music and our ability to experience it at home or on the road. 

With our airports repopulating and our stages buzzing with talent again, what’s next for music tourism? Our final panel will look at the future of music tourism and highlight new trends, challenges and opportunities.

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PRESENTATION  - ACTIONABLE STEPS TO TACKLE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN MUSIC TOURISM

  • Tom Huston, Co-Founder & CEO, GamePlan Impact (Switzerland)

No music (tourism) on a dead planet. Both the music and tourism industries are complex - and often high-resource consuming - machines. On the other hand, both sectors have been able to drive change with advocacy projects, new sustainable initiatives, awareness campaigns and more. How can music tourism get the best of both worlds and rise as a sustainable industry in itself? Tom Huston, Co-Founder & CEO of GamePlan Impact will try to answer this question by providing actionable steps to tackle environmental sustainability across different music tourism areas and products.

11:30am - 11:55am

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CLOSING REMARKS

12:45pm - 12:50pm

  • Shain Shapiro, Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK)

  • Craig Ray, Director, Visit Mississippi (USA) 

  • Terry Smith, CEO, Destination Cape Breton (Canada)

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EVENING HAPPY HOUR @ LYRIC HOTEL

4:00pm - 6:30pm

Join us for an evening event and a happy hour with live performances at the Lyric Hotel!

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Friday 01 October 2021

Music Tour Across the Delta

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DRIVE FROM CLEVELAND TO INDIANOLA

When most people stroll into Indianola, they’ve got two things on their mind- Mississippi Blues and B.B. King. As the place where Riley B. King grew up and later claimed as home on stages around the world under his new name "Beale Street Blues Boy" - B.B. King, and stocked with blues joint after blues joint, Indianola draws blues enthusiasts who travel the globe to experience the history of blues music in this small Mississippi Delta town.

10:00am - 10:30am

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BB KING MUSEUM & CLUB EBONY

10:30am - 12:00pm

The life of B.B. King provides the backdrop for the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center to share the rich cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta. Through an authentic presentation of music, art, artifacts and video, along with our educational programming, the Museum honors its namesake as an internationally renowned and influential musician, celebrates Delta blues music heritage and the local culture, encourages and inspires young artists and musicians, and enriches the lives of Delta youth and all who visit the museum campus.

 

Club Ebony, one of the South’s most important African American nightclubs, was built just after the end of World War II by Indianola entrepreneur Johnny Jones. Under Jones and successive owners, the club showcased Ray Charles, Count Basie, B. B. King, Bobby Bland, Little Milton, Albert King, Willie Clayton, and many other legendary acts. Club Ebony is one of the last remaining juke joints in Mississippi and is owned and operated by the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

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LUNCH & PERFORMANCE

12:00pm - 1:30pm

Don't miss the music performance during lunch time of the music tour!

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DRIVE FROM INDIANOLA TO GREENWOOD

Beginning where the rolling hills meet the lush flatlands, Greenwood is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. It’s history, as striking as its landscape, will continue to fascinate generations.  From three graves marking the resting place of a blues icon, to three rivers for the adventurous traveler to explore, to new Delta cuisine at one of the hamlet’s many interesting eateries there is something for every traveler.

1:30pm - 2:00pm

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ROBERT JOHNSON GRAVE SITE & MUSIC

2:00pm - 2:30pm

Take a tour of Robert Johnson’s three graves. Legend claims Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49 so he could play the Delta blues. Supposedly poisoned by a jealous husband at a juke joint at Three Forks where Highways 82 and 49E intersect, Johnson was taken to a shotgun house at the Star of the West Plantation north of Greenwood, where he lingered for several days before dying on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27. Johnson’s death and burial created a mystery almost as great as his talent’s sudden appearance. His death certificate says Johnson is buried at Zion Church — but which one?

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DRIVE FROM GREENWOOD TO CLARKSDALE

2:30pm - 4:00pm

Clarksdale boasts a colorful mix of Delta characters and fascinating places. Discover a hotel where blueswoman Bessie Smith died and John F. Kennedy, Jr. slept. Eat a tamale or dine at a restaurant co-owned and frequented by Morgan Freeman. Clarksdale is the crossroads of culture and quirkiness with a heavy dose of the blues.

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VISIT TO GROUND ZERO BLUES CLUB & LIVE PERFORMANCE

Clarksdale, Mississippi has long been described as "Ground Zero" for blues aficionados from around the globe. It all started there.

 

The town has been home to musicians that changed the world including: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, WC Handy, Ike Turner, Charlie Musselwhite, Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram , Lucious Spiller, and Anthony 'Big A' Sherrod to name a few. That's why they created Ground Zero Blues Club® — to celebrate the area's rich blues heritage and to provide a venue in which it can continue.

4:00pm - 5:00pm

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MIGHTY ROOTS FESTIVAL

5:00pm - late

The tour will end at the exclusive Mighty Roots Festival. Participants will be able to experience great live music with a truly historical vibe at the inaugural edition of the festival in Stovall, MS on October 1-2. Staged on the farm where Muddy Waters grew up and was first recorded, Mighty Roots offers music ranging from reggae to bluegrass to Americana to blues on the site of a repurposed cotton gin complex.  

All tour participants will receive a complimentary VIP pass for the Festival opening night on Friday 1 October. For anyone else interested in attending, special discounted tickets are available on this page.

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